Roof Rack Solar Panels vs. Inset Integration for New Homes

roof rack solar panels vs inset new homes blog mobile image rev2

Solar Panel Installation for Homebuilders: Over-Tile vs. Well - Set

Over-tile, roof rack solar panels vs. well-set installation — the ideal mounting method for homebuilders depends on the roof types, communities and buyer priorities involved.

Homebuilders exploring solar options should evaluate these unique factors to better align with brand standards, neighborhood rules and buyer desires.

What are the key contrasts between roof rack solar panels and inset integration? Let’s compare the pros, cons and criteria to determine the best fit for your community.


Over-Tile Solar Installation


Also known as roof rack solar panels, this type of installation involves mounting a solar rack directly over the top of new roof tiles. The racks are secured to the roof using bolts that attach to the structure of the home underneath the tile. The solar panels are then mounted to the racks.


The main advantage of roof over-tile solar installation is:

  • They’re inexpensive compared to alternative methods.
  • They provide more flexibility in the design process and for future additions.

The downsides to over-tile installation are:

  • The racking system sits higher above the roofline, making it more visually noticeable.
  • If tiles need to be replaced, the system needs to be partially removed and reinstalled.

Overall, over-tile solar installations are best for newer tile roofs and projects where cost savings are the priority over aesthetics.

Well-Set Solar Installation


The well-set solar installation method is pre-determined and involves instructing the roofers to install composition shingle roof where the panels go. The solar installer then goes in and installs in that area. While well-set still uses solar rack components, they sit lower and look more integrated into the home.

This solar installation method creates a very low-profile, integrated system that looks more aesthetically pleasing from the street — the only components that rise above the roofline are the solar panels themselves.


The main advantage of roof over-tile solar installation is:

  • No penetration through roof tiles.
  • Better aesthetics that blends seamlessly with the home’s design.
  • Easy to replace tiles in the future without touching the solar system.
  • Implements “best practice” standards for protecting the roof assembly.

The tradeoff is that well-set installation:

  • Is more expensive.
  • Requires unique work performed by roofing contractor.
  • Is more difficult to coordinate installation during construction.
  • Limits expansion of the solar system in a visually comparable way.

Which is Best for Your Community?


If you build spec homes or more entry-level communities, over-tile mounting provides a decent solar option where curb appeal and long-term reliability are lower priorities. It’s better suited for more budget-friendly homes where upfront cost savings outweigh concerns over aesthetic.

While well-set roof solar panels are expensive and require more work by the roofing contractor, the results are worthwhile for higher-end homes. For communities where aesthetics matter and decades of peak quality are expected, the small investment in well-set solar integration pays dividends in homeowner satisfaction and strong builder reputations.


Consult the New Home Solar Experts


Whether over-tile or well-set, Sunnova has a solar energy specialist in your region ready to consult on your next build. Get in touch today so we can guide you on which mounting method is best for your homes, and much, much more.

We have a specialist in your region

Contact Us